The British and Irish Lions have confirmed that former Scotland full-back and SRU past president Andy Irvine will mange the 2013 Lions tour to Australia and that the tour will kick off in Hong Kong against the Barbarians.
British Lions Limited (BLL) also confirmed that HSBC have renewed their sponsorship which will see the bank's name on the shirt as it was in 2009 which will be the first time time a Principal Partner has ever renewed their sponsorship.
2013 British and Irish Lions tour manager Irvine made an amazing 41 appearances (36 provincial + 5 Tests) for The Lions and will take over from Gerald Davies, who performed the role during the Tour to South Africa last year. Davies, the flying Welsh winger and a Lion in 1968 and 1971, was in turn appointed Chairman of BLL.
Irvine represented The Lions in 1974, 1977 and 1980 scoring 257 points, said: "I feel honoured and privileged to be able to take on the role of Tour Manager for our 2013 visit to Australia."
"Last year's Tour was a phenomenal showcase for rugby, and I look forward to upholding the best of Lions traditions when we travel to the home of the Wallabies for what will be a fantastic experience. In the meantime, I can't wait to get my teeth into the planning and logistics that will be so crucial to the success of the Tour over the next two and a half years."
Gerald Davies, who as Tour Manager in 2009 helped shape one of the most memorable Test series in modern times, said: "It is a huge honour for me to continue my long association with The Lions as chairman for the 2013 Tour to Australia. The Lions remains one of the greatest adventures in modern rugby and I look forward to once again sharing in the unique spirit and prestige of The Lions."
The Lions first match in Hong Kong promised to be a historic event and Barbarians Chairman John Spencer said,"The Barbarians and The Lions have a rich history and both share a unique place in the game of rugby.
"To bring two such sides together and be able to create history in Hong Kong is very special indeed, and it will be an incredible occasion and the perfect way to kick off the 2013 Lions Tour. "
"We are proud and delighted to be part of such an innovative chapter in Lions history and are already looking forward to the match."